The Oakland Athletics are definitely not in postseason contention anymore, but they do have a few players on the roster that are in the running for some of this year’s season awards. One of those players would be rookie outfielder Billy Burns. This 25-year-old has been outstanding for the A’s since joining the team in May and is a strong contender for the American League Rookie of the Year award.
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Burns was never even suppose to play this season with the Athletics. He was in the dugout for the first two games of the 2015 season, but was quickly sent back down to Triple-A. It was suspected that he would be called back up in September, but, it was widely presumed that his first full season in the MLB would be in 2016. However, due to Coco Crisp’s injury, Burns was called up to Oakland in early May.
Despite missing the first month of the season, Burns has played the second most games out of any rookie in the American League. Burns has not only played in 86 games, but he has had a great impact on his team both offensively and defensively. Burns has successfully assumed Crisp’s spot as the Athletics’ leadoff hitter and diving center fielder.
During his first two months in the Majors, Burns hit above .300 and had a 16 game hitting streak in June. Even though his offensive production decreased slightly in July, he has maintained a .296 AVG for the season, which is the second best batting average among all AL rookies. Additionally, he has stolen 23 bases this season, which is the seventh most stolen bases in the MLB.
Much like his fellow outfielders such as Super Sam Fuld and Crisp, Burns will run, dive, and jump in order to get the out. Even though he is a rookie, he has only made one error in center field, which is quite impressive compared to the number of errors some of his other teammates have committed this year. Burns may be only 5’9”, but he has been able to cover Oakland’s expansive outfield well and has a .994 fielding percentage this season so far.
Burns has been the most consistent AL rookie this year. Even though his team has been less successful, Burns deserves recognition for all of his hard work. Hopefully Burns’ performance this season will be recognized even though he is a member of a small market team with a losing record.